Pollinating the Blog... With ART!

I update the blog once in a while, just to see if it still sprouts viewers. Surveying the stats, it appears that 5-20 bots look at the blog every day. Once every month or two I'll get a few of days of 200-300 hits as a few people look around after I've posted artwork somewhere else.

There is much more activity when I post regularly, but I haven't done that in a long time. After I make a new post – and get a small charge from seeing my artwork up here on the internet gallery wall – I often feel inspired to make more; and that feeling fueled the frenzy of posts I made in the early years of this blogspot endeavor. I still get that feeling even now, but it has been dulled by the fall of the community that used to revolve around blogspot and by the understandable 14-year itch.

I drew these on my iPad in Clip Studio Paint. Four of the heads were referenced from random portraits
found on the internet, but I discarded the reference after I roughed in the features. The rest I free-styled.

I've mentioned this many times before but I often worry that my working life and the ennui that settles upon most of us as we grow older has dulled the joy of making art for pleasure. When I manage to make the time to draw I enjoy dragging the pencil across the paper – I don't much care if the result is any good, I'm there for the experience and the thrill of the moment. The drawing itself usually underwhelms me but I feel better for having done it.

So, here are some underwhelming doodles sprinkled upon the dry soil of the blog. Perhaps some viewers will appear, and perhaps more art.

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Fast and Furious

Here's an illustration for the April 21 Sunday front of the Mercury News and East Bay Times newspapers. Here is a link to the story about the lawyers behind the tech industry's H-1B visa boom, written by Leonardo CastaƱeda.

Drawn and colored with Clip Studio Paint.
Open in a new tab for a larger version

The concept was provided by the editors and below is the rough sketch. The wheel barrow was the first idea but it was superseded by the other one while I doodled.

The illustration did not stray from the rough, did it?

And here is what it looked like in print:

This is a pretty spare blog post so here'a a little something extra. Animated cupcakes!

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Want Out of the Bay Area?

This illustration ran in the East Bay Times and Mercury News a couple of weeks ago. It appeared with an excellent story by Louis Hansen online and in print. It's nice living in the SF Bay Area, but it's also pretty hard. Expensive for the middle class, crowded, the worst traffic in the world, portions of it burn down every year... etc. The story clearly hit a nerve; 1,000+ dumb comments, which is pretty high for our site.

Drawn in Clip Studio Paint and mostly colored therein.
Also, a bit of Photoshop.

For this assignment I was encouraged to cartoon away. Forget the fancy illustratin'. Just doodle and slap down some color. Lots of fun!

Here's how it looked in print.

Below is the initial sketch. Didn't change much along the way, obviously.

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Pandora's Box is in the mail

This illustration ran on the Bay Area News Group website and in print in their family of newspapers – Mercury News, East Bay Times – on Monday, March 4.

So, gene synthesis companies pretty much police themselves when it comes to who they send their product to. Sounds scary, but it sounds even scarier after you read this story by Lisa Krieger at the Mercury News website.

I created the illustration in Clip Studio Paint. We put the label across the bottom because we were uncertain the average newspaper reader would get it – Greek mythology might not be as in the mainstream as it used to be.

Seems the aging newspaper crowd would get it, while the younger readers might confuse it with the music streaming service. Why would they call it "Pandora" anyway?

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Four Illustrations

It sure had been busy at home and at work this past month. There has been comedy, there has been calamity. There has been illness and recovery, and a quick jump back to illness again. There has been holiday fun and the fearful terror wrought by a gushing water heater.

And I did a few illustrations for work. Here is what they looked like in the paper:

Open in a new tab to embiggen.

I might update the post later with more in-depth discussion for some of the illustrations, but then again I might not.

Social media for your neighborhood. Created in Illustrator (mostly.)

I'm going through another phase where I'm uncertain of my purposes of blogging. I've used the process in the past as a way to document my workflow, to leave a brief record of what/why/how I'm doing what I'm doing.

Best California Governors. Drawn in Clip Studio Paint and a little bit of Photoshop.

I've done it to force myself to think about my work by having to explain it. I'm not sure who I am explaining this to anymore. I mean, who reads blogs?

What to do with the castoff BART cars. Drawn in Clip Studio Paint.

But, as always, if you have any comments or curiosity about any of my efforts you can ask here or on Twitter.

Comparing costs between hospitals. Clip Studio Paint and Illustrator

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Three Little Paintings, Plus One!

I found three old thumbnail-ish doodles on the computer the other day. I made them several years ago. I was trying to get back into drawing and painting personal work for artistic growth and pure enjoyment – an effort I undertake from time to time – but on that particular occasion I only lasted about three days. "One little painting a day," I said. I sustained the pace for three days and I haven't seen them since.

Last week I stumbled upon them and – inspired for the moment – I decided that I would take up the task once more. "I'll finish the last panel – down in the lower right corner, still blank – and I will post them for all to see,” I said aloud. There was a cat perched on the shelf next to me and she seemed to nod in agreement, or maybe she was just cleaning her paws. Looked like a nod to me.

Painted in Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop. Open in a new window to embiggen.

I started the new thumbnail but made the mistake of looking critically at the ones already done and I decided that I really should fix them first. “After all,” I reasoned, “they're old, they no longer represent the artist that I am now; and besides, they aren't very good.” I’m my own second-worst critic; only my daughter dislikes my art more than me. She is never impressed.

Over a couple of days I spent several brief runs of “spare time” dolling up the old drawings and making a new one. I don't know that they were improved by the attention, but I did get to spend some time creating art, or whatever it is that they are. 

At any rate, I intend to make this a regular thing once again! More regular than three days this time. I’m certain of it! Really.

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Three is Better Than One, I Hope!

Three illustrations! I'm not motivated enough this evening to work up a separate post for each one but I'm in the mood to clear the deck. So, to get them out of the way – one of them has been lurking in my "draft" list for over a year – I'll just line them up and knock them down.

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This was for a story about robots taking over the jobs of people at Amazon... I think. This is the one that's been lurking for a long time in my draft file. I can't find the pdf of the print version and a quick, half-assed web-search yields a bazillion stories about Amazon and robots and Amazon's underpaid, often shafted workers, but not this story. I shouldn't wait so long to post stuff!

Drawn in Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop, I believe.

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The next illustration is for a story that ran just a week or two ago about the conspiracy theory consumers who have spent too much of their lives gazing into the abysmal internet and either pretend to believe or actually do believe some really stoopid crap. This time the deep-thinkers are sure that the California wildfires have been set by the secret cabal that includes the shadow government, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, and so on.

I don't know. How secret can any cabal be if it's got Zuckerberg in it? At any rate, the illumi-nutty are sure Zuck's got satellites armed with lasers so he can start forest fires in California to help him rule the world that he kind of pretty much rules already.

The story, by the Mercury News' great science writer, Lisa Krieger, is here. She is, as always, measured, mature and insightful. That's why she writes and use I crayons and make pictures. If were to write that story I would use the adjective "stoopid" at least twice in every paragraph. 

I'm not without sin; I am an eager audience for a good UFO or sasquatch story, but I don't believe any of that stoopid crap – well, I don't believe most of it. (Would anyone in 1967 think to put breasts on a gorilla suit, as seen in the Patterson film? That would have taken a mad kind of genius. But I digress.)

Drawn in Clip Studio Paint with a touch of Photoshop.

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This ran in early November with a story by Erin Baldassari, and you can read her fun story here. The Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission hosted a competition for ideas to help ease the horrible traffic situation in the San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose areas. They received hundreds of submissions and Erin picks out some good ones that were a tad too outlandish work, although they might just the things to make it all better if life were more like a Looney Tunes cartoon. 

Drawn with Clip Studio Paint & minor Photoshoppery.

That's all folks!

Rent Control

This one was good fun! Somebody else came up with the concept, darnit, but I enjoyed the process of drawing it an awful lot. Two people, one long-term tenant with rent control and another person moving in next-door and he has to pay MUCH more than his neighbor.

It's one of those things where I can see both sides of the story. As a renter, I'm all for rent control. If I ever own a house (ha!) and decide to take on a tenant I'm going to vote against such silliness.

Drawn with Clip Studio Paint and little bit of Photoshop.

I based the character heads on two random people I found on the internet, although the drawings didn't end up looking much like the pictures. That's alright! I wasn't aiming for accurate portraiture; I was seeking inspiration so the characters didn't look like one of the fairly small stable of faces that appear when I draw out of my head.

It looks pretty good to me in print, altho I could've gone a touch wider with the drawing. I thought it would run four columns rather than stretching across the page. As they say: Sometimes you never know!

In print!

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PS: Since it's just sitting around and doing nothing in the folder with the final, here's the rough as submitted for approval, sketched after the concept was proposed.

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Brown and Newsom

There was much discussion about how to illustrate this assignment – how to show the contrast between outgoing governor Jerry Brown and his successor Gavin Newsom.  I started a Mad magazine style drawing, but the story hadn't been written yet and so it was hard to commit to imagery without knowing what the writer was going to be focusing on.

Ultimately the decision was to do simple portraits – that was fine by me because there was a lot of other work to do and he deadline was pretty close; it definitely would have been a strain to cartoon and arrange a flurry of items signifying the differences between the two governors.

Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom drawn in Clip Studio Paint and a little bit of Photoshop

Of course the story ended up being postponed for about two weeks because the coverage of the fire in Paradise California bumped it down the road. But that's the biz.

I really like how it looked in the paper, as designed by the always fabulous Chris Gotsill.

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